Posted by Nyeleti on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 Under: Entrepreneurship
The challenge of successfully tackling unemployment in Gauteng, particularly amongst young people, is one that requires innovative thinking and bold solutions if the Province is going to realise its future goals and ambitions, both at home and on the world business stage. With this in mind, the Gauteng Government has set a specific goal - to find, nurture and empower 100 000 new, young entrepreneurs by the end of 2012, each one contributing to the creation of 1 million new jobs. How it practically achieves this goal is the mission of a truly innovative new development programme - Y-AGE (the Youth and Graduate Entrepreneurship Development Programme).
Y-AGE is different from other development programmes. It is a Public-Private Sector Partnership initiative that looks to harness the expertise and experience of established entrepreneurs to mentor these new business leaders of tomorrow. It incorporates a global best practice approach to its business model that focuses on research, recruitment, selection, training, funding, monitoring and evaluation, and finally mentorship and support, to ensure programme success for the long-term.
The uniqueness of the Y-AGE programme comes from its tried and tested 10 Step Approach to taking aspirant young people on the journey towards entrepreneurship. Firstly, Step 1 looks to promote the Y-AGE programme to potential young entrepreneurs through various advertising and promotional campaigns across the Province, with the aim to identify 100 000 eligible candidates. Those interested in the Y-AGE Programme are requested to visit the website www.y-age.co.za to find out more about the Programme and the criteria and then to register on-line or via the mobisite by sending an sms to 34747. The reason for this digital approach is that young entrepreneurs need to be tech-savvy in today's fast-moving business environment and therefore all programme applications are requested to be completed via the website. In addition, help desks will also be set up at a number of local municipality centres.
Step 2 is the selection process to identify the final 100 000 young entrepreneurs that will formally be invited onto the Y-AGE programme. A panel of highly qualified and experienced industry sector experts will assess each individual application to ensure that those selected onto the Programme have viable business venture propositions and fully meet the criteria for entry, which falls into four key categories, namely:
- People with a viable business concept but with no existing business
- People with an existing business but with no funding
- People with a new invention but without the funding required to launch it to market
- People with a business that has collapsed, due to lack of funding or other business challenges, and needs to be resuscitated
50% of those ultimately selected will be women and youth business owners in the 18-35 year age group. An exception will be made for graduates up to 40 years.
Step 3 sees successful candidates being informed of their formal acceptance onto the Y-AGE programme by means of an sms or email. This notification of acceptance requires applicants to demonstrate their complete commitment to their business venture and the initiative by paying a commitment fee of R500. The payment of this fee encourages candidates to complete the Y-AGE programme and all its pre-requisites. Monies are invested back into the programme to cover operational costs.
Step 4 is the formal registration process, during which time the young entrepreneur will receive a learner contract, a compulsory Y-AGE bank account complete with Y-AGE bank card that can be loaded with stipends from the various SETAs and to be used throughout the Y-AGE partner network, and a detailed information pack on the training and development schedules to be followed.
Step 5 sees the commencement of the young entrepreneur's training and development process with the provision of learner materials, schedules of training and development classes, a copy of the programme values to be followed, and a list of specialist workshops, guest lectures and seminars to be attended. The young entrepreneurs will be separated into two groups - those with no previous business experience commence their formal training with the New Venture Creation programme, whereas those who already have some business experience and existing businesses move into the Turn Around Solutions programme. This second young entrepreneurs group is not required to study full-time.
Step 6 requires each of the young entrepreneurs to complete their business plans in preparation for the commencement of the funding application process. Each business plan will then be introduced to the various financial institution partners of the Y-AGE programme for support.
Step 7 relates to the confirmation of funding lines for each of the new entrepreneurial business ventures. Funding takes the form of a 20% grant, sourced from the Development Funding Institutions, Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) and Department of Economic Development (DED). The remainder of the funding takes the form of a loan from a Financial Lending Institution.
Step 8 is the exciting part of the Y-AGE programme when the young entrepreneur sees their business venture kick started in earnest. At this stage, the business can start to hire people and create the much-needed new jobs in their industry or business sector.
Step 9 provides the new business with the essential monitoring and evaluation process that is required to ensure long-term success.
Finally, step 10 is what makes the Y-AGE programme truly unique - the mentorship and support structure that is provided to each young entrepreneur. The mentorship will be coordinated through the Mentorship Program and the Customer Relations Management (CRM) support services facilitated by the Y-AGE call centre.
To ensure the ultimate success of this innovative programme, and as a reflection of the importance of this initiative on the part of Gauteng Provincial Government, a highly qualified team has been put in place to oversee its implementation and day-to-day management. In addition, a network of key strategic partners has also been established including the SETAs, Commercial Banks, FET Colleges, Universities and Private Businesses, offering advice and access to funding and technical support. By working together in strategic partnership, this powerful initiative has the capacity to realise the change that everyone in Gauteng wishes to see in order to achieve the Province's goal of a truly entrepreneurial culture in action, supporting 1 million new jobs.
Any young entrepreneur wishing to know more about this exciting initiative should visit the Y-AGE website for details - www.y-age.co.za
In : Entrepreneurship
Tags: start-up mentorship sme